Once you have decided that you want to stay in João Pessoa, either on a temporary or permanent basis, the ugly question of money raises its head. If you have some form of regular income from investments and pensions then work may be just to keep the old grey matter ticking over.
However, if that’s not the case then the first thing you should consider is what does your visa allow you to do. Then you have to consider what you can do and that’s where the problem starts because there is probably a Brazilian who is qualified to do the same job and for less. If you don’t speak Portuguese then that reduces your options even more.
Some used to say that teaching English was an option and though that may have been true 15 years ago, the situation now is very different, unless you have the right qualifications and contacts.
Definitely, for João Pessoa, this has never been more true, for here you will find that many of the schools employ highly qualified professionals that work in the local universities and private schools. Being a native is not the advantage it used to be now that schools have harnessed the latest communication technology.
There is a niche for private teachers which can prove lucrative in the right areas, geographically and otherwise. Certainly, amongst the foreigners working here at the moment, you will find dentists, doctors, university lecturers, engineers, geologists, dancers, jewellers, pilots, chefs, hotel and pousada owners, shop owners, bar and restaurant owners, boat owners, estate or real estate agents, builders, volunteer and missionary workers to name but a few.
So what do the locals do? Tourism features high on the list though public service must rank equal or even higher and don’t forget that includes education and the health service. There are plenty of staff in the shopping centres too. Paraíba is famous for shoes and cement production but lets not forget agriculture as Paraíba is the pineapple and caju state of Brazil.
Education falls into two camps, public sector and private sector. Both sectors are heavily supported by smaller schools to help students who have difficulties with subjects right up to university level.
Many of the private schools have names which are established throughout Brazil or across the north. Their reputation goes before them and come registration time the achievements of the students are plastered all over the city to encourage you to enrol your pride and joy at their school.
The prefeitura are doing their best to provide new schools and support the existing ones. There are sceptics as to the performance of the public schools but there are some facts which are indisputable: the teachers are paid, new schools are being provided along with educational and sports facilities, there is a commitment to the technology programme so that every child will have access to a computer during some point during the school day. Quite simply the prefeitura is going out of its way to provide those below a certain income bracket with a worthwhile level of education.
There are several universities, both public and private in João Pessoa and all have links with universities in the rest of South America and the world. These links show themselves in all fields from drama to science. There are more Phds in Paraíba than any other state in Brazil. Some companies choose to make their home here not just for the climate but to benefit from the investment made in the education system.